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Here's to Us

Here's to Us

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Published by Charlie Gregory
Square up to 2011
Square up to 2011

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Published by: Charlie Gregory on Dec 12, 2010
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03/21/2011

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HiMERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONETIME TO KICK OUT 2010 AND SQUARE UP TO 2011This is by way of a summary of our year 2010, so you might haveread some of it before. In a nutshell, for the first 6 months our feet
didn‟t touch the ground. But the last 6 months have been pretty quiet.
 For starters, we went to Slovenia in January, with Diz, Dan and the
kids. I‟ve never been to the Alps before, so that was another box
ticked for me. It was a skiing holiday for the bolder folk, which means
everyone except me. I‟m a little fearty really. Ever since teacher toldus about gravity I‟ve been
terrified of falling over.
Diz‟n‟Dan were zooming about like Batman and Robin. Charlie,
8,Isobel, 5, and Liz, my beloved, all took skiing lessons. On day one, Ihad mixed feelings, watching Liz shuffling sideways up a mistymountain with metal bars strapped to her feet, like a crab in a chain-gang. I feared I might never see her again, but she suddenly camescreeching out of the clouds like a Stuka dive-bomber. This was before
the lesson on stopping and turning. Legend has it, that if it wasn‟t for
those tables an
d chairs at the bottom of the slope, she‟d be going
still.It all came to a head on day 3 when she went out of control, leaping
about like a firecracker while going uphill backwards. That‟s when the
ydiscovered that she had her boots on the wrong feet.That same day, Isobel and Charlie went up the conveyor beltunaccompanied, then came hurtling down like the Tell-twins the daythey spotted William striding across with an apple and bow in hishands. Isobel forgot to open her eyes and smashed into a mesh-fence
at full speed. I wasn‟t there
,
but Liz caught it on video. There‟s this
almighty collision. Then chaos as Liz runs with an international crowdof rescuers to untangle limbs and scrape organs off the wire, cameraswinging all over the place, legs, feet, snow, sky, mesh and skis. Thenfrom out this babble of excited tongues, like a rerun of Pentecost,comes this
one calm voice as Isobel announces to the world „I am
so
all right.‟ 
 A major event in the family this year is the fact that Jon and Sylviaproduced a song for a Cypriot writer, Nasos. He was so pleased with itthat he asked them to form a group and perform it on Cypriot TV in acompetition to choose the Cypriot entry for the Eurovision SongContest. So they formed a group called Jon Lilygreen and the Islandersand won the competition. That was the start of 5 months gruellingwork for them, with radio and TV performances and interviews in
 
Cyprus, Greece, the UK, Holland and
Sylvia‟s homeland of Norway
 
allof which culminated in the EvS Contest itself. That was in Oslo, inMay.
It‟s their story, so I won‟t go into here.
But, in the event, Liz andI went over to Oslo to watch the actual competition. Being a Brit, Inever realised how seriously they take it on the continent. I mean,
let‟s face it, a lot
of it is pure Euro-trash. Once you get south of Calaisand east of Germany, pop music deteriorates into somethingresembling a circus
acrobats, bell-ringers and comic-singers. But
there‟s a massive following
round the world, mainly weirdos. Everyhotel in Oslo was booked up. In the end, after trying for 3 weeks, Lizand I managed to get the last 2 beds in a backpacker
‟ 
s hostel. In theevent, that turned out to be perfect, and cheap.D
on‟t tell anyone this, but we really enjoyed the competition
and,in fact, the whole experience. Our fellow-weirdos in the audience weregood entertainment in their own right
. Oslo is a beautiful city. They‟ve
got the traffic tamed perfectly over there. And the transport system is
the best I‟ve
ever come across.There was something Jon Lilygreen said that I really liked. In aBBC interview, they asked him what he hoped would come out of all
this. His reply was, „I hope that, when I‟m older, I can look back andsay, “We had a laugh.‟” 
 I like his style. There lies the key to h
appiness. I hope he doesn‟t
lose it. No mention there of fame or fortune or wanting to escape froma council estate, which is all you ever get off these wannabes on X-factor.In the midst of all this, Katie, our other granddaughter was in afencing rally in Sheffield. So we went up there with Penny and David,her mam and dad, to support her. Another bonus on this trip was that
Janet and Graham, Liz‟s cousin and her husband, live
in Macclesfield;and their son, Alexander, is a fencing enthusiast too. So the three of 
them, and Ellen, another of Liz‟s cousins who lives in Macclesfield
,were at the rally too. So there was a family get-together on thesidelines.I know that this is an anomaly, but I love motoring and hatetraffic. So, whenever possible, I take the B roads. Everyone else isbattling it out on the motorways and dual carriageways while I saunteralong the back-tracks. On that trip to Sheffield we had to go up themotorway on the way off because of the time element. That took 3½hours. But coming back we did my usual opt-out, down through themiddle of the White Peak, then across country to Mid Wales, thendown through the mountains and Welsh Valleys to Cardiff, no
motorway at all. That took 7 hours; not everyone‟s cup of tea, mind;
but we took a break every 2 hours and had beautiful scenery everyinch of the way. It was Bank Holiday Monday and, on the radio, wecould hear road reports of traffic jams all over the country, but wehardly saw another car.
 
 
David‟s still in the navy; that‟s 25 years now.
At the moment
he‟s
still on a degree course in Marine Engineering. In his spare time hefences for the navy and acts as a judge for the Field-gun events. Thisyear he was actually running in the competition again, on a B teamnow, so we took a trip down to HMS Collingwood, Gosport, to supporthim.
He finishes his course round about Christmas and after that he‟sback in Plymouth. Penny‟s doing
OK;
she‟s in management in ahospice. Katie‟s a boarder in Plymouth College, and she‟s well into
fencing and several other sports.There are some weird people about. A bloke knocks on our doorthe other day,
and says he‟s selling garden gnomes. He says he makesthree deliveries a year. „Eh? Do they escape or something?‟ He just
looks ordinary to me
. I‟d expect someone
like that to have wild eyesand electric hair.Sylvia and Jon have this big Old English Sheep Dog, Ulf, 7 stone of boisterous bone and muscle. As part of its exercise or bonding orsomething, Jon gets down on the floor and fights with it. One day, justa
fter the Eurovision, they‟re having this scrap when the dog leaps upin the air and lands on Jon‟s inside thigh. I won‟t go into details, but
he ended up with a bad case of DVT. Then, because of the way thingsworked out, he was being treated in Cardiff, rather than up thevalleys. So, to cut down on travelling, he was based at our house for acouple of weeks. Then one day, for some reason, Liz was looking afterCharlie, 8, for a couple of days. And so it came to pass that oneevening, Jon, Charlie and I were sat at the table together, 3 men
talking men‟s talk.
In the middle of the conversation, Charlieannounces
, „I hate my sister!‟  „You don‟t really hate her,‟ 
I tell him.
 „I do
!
‟ 
he says.
 „
Brothers and sisters talk like that
,‟ I tell him
.
 „
When your motherlived here she said she hated me
, and she‟s my daughter.‟  „She still does!‟ 
he says.Jon collapses in a hysterical heap of laughter, DVT clots flying allover the place.
 „It‟s true!‟ yells Charlie, wondering what the joke is.
 
That‟s the story of my life
. Mr Nice Guy, and what do I get?Jon is recovering from the
DVT now. He‟s back on the mountains
and running again. But it was a close call. Mind you big dogs can be ahandful. Last year he was playing with it on the beach when it chargedat him. He thought it would swerve round him. The dog thought he
would jump out of the way. The dog didn‟t and he didn‟t.
Bang! Jonflies up in the air and lands with a crack! It was a broken rib that time.DVT this time.
Here‟s to the next time.
 

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